Over the last 9 months, teachers have been going through specific pieces of training to better understand their students and peers.
These pieces of training include:
Teacher Professional Development Plan: These are the individual learning plans each teacher is required to complete each school year. For the 2020-21 school year, every LSHS teacher-focused this work on deepening understanding of equity issues. Activities selected by the teachers included participation in LSR7 development courses, self-studies of books such as Stamped, White Fragility, and How to Be An Antiracist. podcasts from the Leading Equity Center, The International Baccalaureate Equity and Excellence national training, and creating and participating in an LSHS book club that read and discussed 6 books with equity in education focus. Through these and many other self-selected activities, each of our teachers worked to grow in their own equity learning.
LSHS Candid Conversations: Assistant Principal Mr. Oghenejobo created a discussion group for our educators to share personal experiences and learn from each other on matters of equity. This arose out of the desire of our teachers for continued conversation after our November building PD sessions. As a result, approximately five 1+ hour sessions were held with 15-20 participants at each session.
Equity Literacy Institute: Five LSHS teachers participated in this “train the trainer” professional development series in the spring of 2021. These five learned from Paul Gorski how to lead equity learning opportunities.
A Discussion About Equity at LSHS: In April and May 2021, we partnered with Tyrone Aiken, Chief Artistic Officer of Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey. The purpose of this event was to share real experiences of LSHS students connected to racial issues. Through these sharing sessions, our staff sought to identify and address barriers students of color experience within our school system. The first part of both evening sessions was a student-only session. During the second part of each evening, LSHS staff joined the session to listen and learn. There were between 5-10 students who participated each evening and 6-7 staff members who attended.
Black Student Union: Out of the Spring Equity Discussions led by Mr. Aiken, the LSHS Black Student Union was formed! Student leaders emerged from those spring meetings, and they started work in August. To date, the BSU has participated in the Homecoming Parade, participated in the Billboard HBCU event at Stansberry Leadership Center, Held a social at Jazzy B’s (a black-owned BBQ in Lee’s Summit), enjoyed a Secret Santa gift exchange in December, held an ice-skating social over winter break, re-formed the LSHS Steppers club, and begun planning for a Black History Month which includes spirit weeks and an assembly.
Belonging Through a Culture of Dignity: A team of seven LSHS staff members are participating in this district-led training this year. They are participating in six full days of training with John Krownapple. Additionally, they re-created portions of this training with the entire faculty across our two professional development days in November. This work will continue through this year.
PTSA Night: In October, our staff hosted a Parent-Teacher-Student-Association night with multiple learning sessions for parents. One of those sessions was Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Parents could elect to attend this session to learn about our DEI efforts over the last 18 months and how they can partner with us to continue the work.
Principal’s Advisory Team: Dr. Harrison formed a group of 75 student leaders across grades 9-12 to work on school culture issues this fall. This group has tackled various concerns ranging from crowded lunch shifts to acts of discrimination. Specifically, the group has analyzed instances of discrimination and/or harassment among students and staff and has been working on solutions. They have discussed ways to make discipline procedures more well-known, increasing access to harassment complaint forms, increased lessons on discrimination and, specifically, microaggressions, etc. They are going to continue their work.